Coun. Carol Day tries out a Lime electric scooter.
Photos by Hannah Scott
Lime electric scooter and bike program gets rolling in Richmond
By Hannah Scott
Published 3:00 PDT, Wed June 22, 2022
Last Updated: 10:29 PDT, Thu June 30, 2022
Since soft launching in early May, nearly 3,500 Lime electric scooter and electric bike trips have been made in Richmond.
Those trips have covered a total distance of 8,500 kilometres, demonstrating the community’s interest in sustainable micromobility travel options. Richmond is the first city in Metro Vancouver to offer a shared electric kick scooter (e-scooter) service, as well as offering electric bikes (e-bikes) through the Lime app.
“We have algorithms and computer programs that will determine where and when vehicles need to be, (and) we have teams that will go around and move vehicles from point A to point B and ensure we have a good equilibrium of vehicles and don’t have too many in one spot,” says Lime general manager Chris Iuvancigh. “We’re definitely seeing high usage in Richmond, to the point where we have teams charging (more vehicles) than we actually thought (we) would, so that proves it’s popular.”
Iuvancigh says the most popular areas so far have been around the Richmond Olympic Oval and near Canada Line stations. Having already launched the Lime scooter program in Kelowna, he envisions Richmond having similar success.
“We started really small on purpose, because we didn’t want to spread it too thin. Right now we have 25 parking spaces throughout the Richmond city core, approximately 100 vehicles. We will scale up to get a little bit broader throughout Richmond and provide more parking options,” says Iuvancigh.
City council was joined today by Richmond RCMP, Lime, and HUB Cycling to celebrate the installation of 85 e-scooters, 10 e-bikes, and 25 parking corrals to the city centre.
“Reducing greenhouse gas emissions is a top priority for council, and one of the ways to contribute to this is to remove barriers to more sustainable, low carbon personal mobility options,” says Mayor Malcolm Brodie. “A testament to this commitment is our introduction of e‑bike and e-scooter sharing through the provincial pilot program. With this comes an unwavering focus on, and commitment to, safety. Safety for the e-device operators and those who share the road and pathways with e-scooters.”
HUB Cycling is running safety courses to help people get acquainted with the vehicles and become safe riders. The next course is scheduled for July 9 from noon to 2 p.m.
"There’s no (driver’s) license required, (and) the bikes and scooters are provided at the sessions,” says Rose Gardner, HUB’s director of bike education. “HUB instructors, who are very well-trained and qualified, are there to support, teach you how to fit your helmet (and) important safety skills like shoulder-checking, and also can talk a little bit about route planning. Then you get an opportunity to test in an off-road environment, so we can try to reduce those initial injuries that might happen from someone not having used one before.”
With the weather improving, Gardner hopes to see more Richmondites at the upcoming safety courses.
“The research shows that in order to stay safe when using devices like bicycles or scooters, route choice is really important,” she says. “Also using lights, day and night, can increase your safety—and these vehicles have them built in, which is great to see. Some education can go a long way to learn about how to ride defensively in the city, but in the end it really comes down to building safe and protected infrastructure so that as vulnerable road users we’re protected, as well as (improving) driver education and driver behaviour.”
Provincial regulations require riders to wear a helmet and not ride on sidewalks. While the city’s bylaws have a minimum age of 16, Lime requires riders to be aged 18 or older. Riders do not need a driver’s license, and must not carry passengers.
The city’s bylaws allow people to ride e-scooters in designated bike lanes; streets without lane lines or a directional dividing line with a speed limit of 50 kilometres per hour or less; streets with a directional dividing line and a maximum speed of 30 kilometres per hour; and off-street paved pathways next to the roadway or in parks that are signed or marked for shared use.
The maximum speed is 20 kilometres per hour on roadways or 15 kilometres per hour on shared pathways. When in the presence of pedestrians on shared pathways, riders must slow to a walking speed. Lime also sets e-scooters to a training mode for each user’s first three trips, limiting the speed while people get comfortable with the riding experience.
Unsafe riding behaviour should be reported to the Richmond RCMP non-emergency phone line at 604‑278‑1212. Fines for infractions can be costly.
Richmond is part of the province’s three-year e-scooter pilot program, and in September 2021 chose Lime to supply the shared vehicles. Privately owned e-scooters have been permitted since July 2021 under the provincial pilot program.
For more information on the city’s e-scooter and e-bike rules and bylaws, visit: richmond.ca/services/ttp/cycling/e-scooter.htm
For more information on the safety courses run by HUB Cycling, visit: bikehub.ca/lime